Peru’s Guerrero Cleared To Play In World Cup After Cocaine Ban

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This morning fans of La Blanquirroja woke up to news that Paolo Guerrero - the team's best player and captain - is cleared to play in the World Cup.

CAS initially upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and increased the length of the ban, which would have made him miss the World Cup - Peru's first participation since 1982.

"This decision does justice, at least partially, and I'm grateful to the Swiss court", said Guerrero, who has not formally been cleared of doping and could yet serve the remainder of his ban.

In October, Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine - the main metabolite of cocaine, something he has said is the result of drinking coca tea.

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The court agreed on Thursday to temporarily lift a 14-month suspension, imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), while it considered the 34-year-old striker's appeal.

Paolo Guerrero will play at the World Cup this summer.

Sport's top arbitration court responded by increasing the reduced six-month ban to 14 months.

That suspension was then halved by Fifa's appeal committee but the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) appealed to Cas and, less than two weeks after his six-month ban ended in May, they extended it to 14 months.

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"Gianni Infantino expressed his deep understanding of Guerrero's disappointment in not being able to join the Peruvian squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup", said a short FIFA statement last week.

So far, the CAS panel has only issued its decision, without grounds.

Federation Internationale de Football Association initially reduced the punishment from 12 months to six, which would have enabled Peru's record goalscorer to play in Russia, and was named in Peru's provisional squad. The sports court decided a ban through January 2019 was an "appropriate sanction ... in light of Mr. Guerrero's degree of fault".

Cas accepted his argument when it heard Guerrero's appeal on 3 May.

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Earlier on Thursday (Friday NZT), CAS - which based less than a kilometre from the federal court in Lausanne - issued a statement saying it would not object if Guerrero was cleared to play in Russian Federation. They are in Group C alongside France, Denmark and Australia.

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